The next time you’re visiting the Aloha State of Hawaii, we encourage you to take the time to try some of the most exotic fruits that you can find anywhere. Below is a small sample of what you can find during your next Hawaii vacation.
Poha berry: Yellowy-orange and round, these small berries are delicately surrounded by what looks like a wispy golden leaf coverlet. Because of their unusual beauty, the berries are often added as a garnish to savory meat entrees, fresh vegetable salads or decorative additions to fine dining plates. The sweet-sour flavor of the poha berry makes it a perfect candidate for preserves and jellies, pies or atop sweet desserts.
Strawberry guava: Hikers on lonely mountain paths on the island of Kauai can often find this unique fruit readily available on nearby tree boughs. It is considered to be a highly invasive species and threatens other native plants in Hawaii. The strawberry guava looks like a ripe pomegranate and tastes like tart guava. The entire fruit can be eaten raw, peel and all, right off the tree.
Egg fruit: The name of this fruit is rather uninspiring and may be confusing at first blush because the shape does not look anything like a standard egg. However, when sliced open, the texture of the bright yellow flesh is similar to the consistency of an egg’s crumbly yolk. Like the sweet potato, egg fruit has a distinct autumnal flavor reminiscent of Thanksgiving Day pumpkin pie.
Cherimoya: If you were to put a handful of strawberries, pear slices and a banana in a blender that combination would taste just like that of the cherimoya. The oddly shaped fruit looks like a hard-surfaced melon, which can be enjoyed frozen, chilled or fresh. Famous American writer Mark Twain, who frequented Hawaii, once descried this fruit as the most delicious one known to man.
Star apple: The star apple has many names including milk fruit, estrella, golden leaf apple and more. They are incredibly sweet, and served chilled for dessert. The plant’s leaves have actually been known to treat patients with diabetes and cold-like ailments. The star apple fruit is usually greenish-brown or purple, with a milky white interior.
Sweetsop: This fruit almost look like a large green raspberry or pine cone reaching about 5 to 10 centimeters in thickness. The internal fruit is delicate and white and has a creamy, custard-like flavor.
Mountain apple: Like many fruits in Hawaii with the name apple in it, the mountain apple or ohi’a’ai is not really an apple nor does it taste like one. Mountain apple trees were initially brought to Hawaii from the earliest Polynesian immigrants centuries ago. The fruit mostly eaten raw and is naturally very sweet, soft and juicy. Mountain apple fruits vary from deep reddish pink to a softer pale shade and the leaves of the tree often fall making a natural pink petal path in season.
Rambutan: The spikey outer layer of this fruit’s peel inspired it nickname “dragon eye.” The consistency of this scrumptious fruit closely resembles the lychee. The color of the rambutan ranges from yellow to orange or reddish and are often easily found for sale at road side stands and in the many farmers’ markets in Hawaii.
Dragon fruit: With arguably one of the most vibrant and stunning outer layers, the dragon fruit is an aesthetically appealing fruit. The white inside of the dragon fruit has the same texture as a kiwi, speckled with the same sort of soft black seeds. Though the colors of the pitaya suggest strong flavors, this fruit is mild enough for even small children to enjoy without wrinkling their noses at the tanginess. Dragon fruit can be yellow, red or deep purple and are grown in several farms in Hawaii, where guests can tour and taste fresh samples of the produce.
Ohelo berry: This rare berry grows best in higher altitudes and is similar to a cranberry. They are bright red, yellow or orange and can be either very sweet or tangy. While these berries can be found scattered all across Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, people are interdicted from eating berries found in parks and elsewhere in the wild, because the ohelo berry is a key component of the endangered Hawaiian nene goose’s diet. To sample this berry firsthand, you can purchase a cluster of them from local markets.